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How to: Work Intarsia

video by

Let's Knit Together

  • Overview
  • Practical Guides

This is a colourwork method often used for motifs and colour blocks, and uses different yarn colours from separate balls in the same row. You might like to watch our how to set up for intarsia video first if you’ve not tried this technique before. 

Here, Neti has worked a simple rectangle in stocking stitch in a contrast colour from this chart. Read right to left for K rows, L to R for P rows. In the round, it is always R to L. The colour pattern started on a knit row and was worked over four rows. For this, Neti had three separate balls of yarn: main ball, a bobbin of contrast colour for the rectangle, and a bobbin of contrast colour for the opposite side.  When Neti finished the coloured rectangle, she carried on in the main colour only. To do a two-row version of this, start on this next knit row.  Knit four stitches, join in the new colour, inserting the needle into the stitch and then wrapping the new colour at the back, leave a hole but this will be closed up on the purl row. Now, knit six in your new colour. Change colour as before, bringing working yarn of next colour. The first knit row holes will be closed up on purl row. Turn the end of RH needle one way to purl (leave bobbins). Purl with yarn in front, when changing colour hold the old colour to the left and bring up new yarn from underneath and right. This crosses or wraps yarns together to avoid a hole forming and also carries the yarn up the next row, when it will be needed. If you get the wrap wrong, you’ll end up with the wrong colour showing through to the front. Turn the end of the RH needle the other way to knit (leave bobbins hanging) - turn the end away. Motifs are not all square, diagonal or circular, so take care when you wrap yarns that the wrong colour not showing through.  Your motif is now finished, knit the next row in your main yarn, you don't need the bobbins any more. When finished with a bobbin, it's a good idea to cut the yarn and weave in the ends - to the same colour - to keep back of work tidy.  If you need to bring a colour across the back by quite a few stitches, and you don't want to cut and rejoin, have a look at the intarsia video to see how to enclose yarn along the back. 


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